▶ Watch Video: Senator Thune on what potential abortion changes could mean

n the wake of the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that could lead to overturning the landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade, South Dakota Senator John Thune told “CBS Mornings” that he believes the issue needs to be at the hands of the people and their elected officials. 

“The question for a lot of people is going to be, is it human life, and what does that mean? I think what you’re going to see is state legislatures… are going to have to find political consensus, and some states are probably going to define it differently,” Thune said. 

The Republican senator voted against a Democratic-led bill this week to protect abortion access on the federal level.

All 50 Republicans plus Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia voted against the bill causing it to fail. Thune told “CBS Mornings” that Democrats “knew the bill was going to fail” but they are using the issue of abortion as a distraction to other issues. 

“I think that they’re looking for something to distract from the economy, inflation, the border, and some of the issues they’d rather not talk about. I think this is an issue, this is a clear pivot on their part to get on something they think can play offense with. But a lot of it will come down to the politics on this issue is very contentious, always has been… How that plays politically remains to be seen,” he said. 

Most polls, including a CBS News poll conducted in November, indicated that a majority of Americans supported leaving Roe in place. Thune said that polls do not consider the many different scenarios that come into play.  

“If you look at the way this polls, Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision said that states interest becomes compelling at point of viability. Which keeps moving back. Right now, 65% of Americans don’t think you should have abortions past the first trimester, so the end of the second or third trimester. 80% of Americans believe you shouldn’t have them after the second trimester,” he said. “We’re really out of step with the world… Most European nations, France is 12 weeks, Germany is 12 weeks. Most countries have found a political consensus around restrictions.”